listen – laugh – love

A little taste of my Social Media love…

All Hail the Algorithms

on September 16, 2013


After reading several articles about the differences and similarities of Facebook and Google+, I’ve come to one conclusion; it’s all about the algorithms. Whether it’s Facebook’s EdgeRank or Google+’s Your World, there is clear mathematical substance behind all of the “sharing,” “liking,” “+1-ing,” and “commenting” getting view time on these social platforms.

So what does it all mean and what exactly are these algorithms we keep hearing about? Shall we take a look?


Let’s start with Facebook and their EdgeRank. Facebook uses the EdgeaRank algorithm to determine what is displayed on your News Feed and how high up in your feed that content is placed. Essentially, the algorithm is the sum of the Edges. But wait, what is an Edge?! An Edge is basically everything and anything that happens on Facebook; a status update, a comment, a share, a like, etc. Each Edge contains Affinity, Weight, and Time Decay. Affinity is basically the “relationship” between a brand and yourself. Weight is a value assigned to an action by Facebook, different actions have different weights. For example, a comment is a more involved action so it carries more weight than a simple like. Time Decay is essentially the age of an Edge or action. The longer it’s been “alive” the less valuable it becomes.

Okay – that’s all great…but why is EdgeRank and all of those fancy terms important? Because, if your brand has a low EdgeRank it will not get “top billing” on your fan’s News Feed and will most certainly not be seen by many people. Basically, each story on Facebook is assigned a score; the higher your score, the higher the placement of your story. The infograph here explains it all perfectly!

GraphActionObjectSo what other neat mathematical and tech savvy things are Facebook doing to keep great content at the top of your News Feed? The Social Graph concept is one way! Boonsri Dickinson, a technology insider, explains that “the Social Graph draws an Edge between you and the people, places, and things you interact with online.” Photos, events, pages, comments, and much more are connected with your relationships, things you share, and the photos you tag – creating a web of information for the online world. With the roll out of Graph Search on Facebook, this information can now be used when searching to specific items, ideas, or actions on the internet; essentially, working like a Google search but within the Facebook walls.


Speaking of Google…what about Google+? I personally still do not understand the charm of Google+. I understand that, if used correctly, it can get your brand and posts seen by anyone that searches the right key words – but it’s so confusing to use! Those issues aside, let’s try to figure it out! From what I gather, Google+ is brand’s best friend. By using Google+ to the best of its abilities, a brand can significantly increase their SEO (Search Engine Optimization). According to Steve Rayson, an Associated Press Contributor, “Google Plus content will be efficiently indexed by Google; it will gain page rank and appear in Google’s search result.” He also points out with more the two-thirds of all searches in the US taking place on Google, it’s clear that you want your content to be clearly searchable!

Google+ isn’t a stranger to the algorithm world either – much like Facebook Graph Search, Google+ implemented something called Your World. Your World, according to Amit Singhal of Google, takes the social search, personal search, and personalized search algorithms and mergers them into one seamless algorithm that will yield more results than ever.

While Google+ may still remain a mystery to me, with 90 million users it’s clear that it’s not going away anytime soon. So, maybe it’s time that I buck up and take a deeper dive into the world (and benefits) of using Google+. But, in the meantime, I’ll continue using (and loving) my sweet, sweet Facebook.

Ta-ta for now!


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14 responses to “All Hail the Algorithms

  1. I learned a lot in your blog post and you made the fog of social media appearances clear. Thanks for the great post!

  2. Stacy Shanks says:

    Google+ is a mystery to me too. I hope our lecture sheds some light on it because I didn’t get much from this week’s readings except for it helping with SEO.

    Last semester we talked a lot about Facebook’s Search Graph and it’s creepy the information that can be compared about your friends on Facebook. You’ll get that same lecture next semester. Be prepared to be freaked out.

    • lutt09 says:

      I sure how something sheds some light on it – and soon! I look forward to any and all help in understanding the purpose of Google+ AND how to use it correctly!

      Thanks for reading!

  3. Lacee,

    Weren’t you surprised that Google+ already has 90 million users? I had only heard of it about a week before starting class, and I still don’t know anyone outside of UF Social that uses it. I remember hearing/reading that it’s skewed male and in the tech industry. So it’ll be interesting to see what demo it trends towards as Google+ progresses.

    • lutt09 says:

      Hi Alexandra!

      I was absolutely shocked that Google+ has nearly as many users as Twitter! I still can’t quite figure the whole thing out and how I can personally use their platform. However, I did just download the Google+ app on my phone and it’s a lot more user friendly than the website. If you haven’t downloaded the app yet, I would strongly recommend it! The best part for me was that it made finding “Communities” way easier!

      Thanks for reading!

  4. helenapeace says:

    I think the main thing that we “all” need to realize is that Google+ isn’t just for your friends. Its basically a combination of twitter and facebook. You circle people, but you don’t actually have to know them to circle them. Kind of how I follow people on pinterest that I don’t even know. Facebook is a place for you to be social with your friends. But, you don’t have to see everything about everyone. That’s how the algorithm is awesome. It really gives you what you want to see.

    • lutt09 says:

      Hi Helen!

      After this week’s lecture, I will definitely no longer attempt to compare Facebook and Google+. They were clearly created for two completely different reasons and serve very different purposes. I’m getting the hang of Google+ (slowly but surely) and I really like the Google+ app on my iPhone (so user friendly). I like your explaination of Google+, it reall is a place we go for information and content, not really to “socialize.”

      Thanks for reading!

  5. Avi Lambert says:

    Reblogged this on Photonic Culture and commented:
    Insight on what makes advertising on Google and Facebook’s networks worthwhile, via the algorithm angle.

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